DRINKING water to thousands of people across the Portsmouth area could be contaminated if a major housing development goes ahead unchecked, it has been warned.
Officials at Portsmouth Water have written to East Hampshire District Council to voice concerns over plans for 700 homes at Hazleton Farm, close to the A3(M) at Horndean.
Multi-million pound plans have been submitted to develop 153 acres of green space with housing, businesses, shops and a new primary school.
But Rob Porteous, engineering director for the Havant-based water firm, is concerned because the development would take place within a protected groundwater source for the Havant and Bedhampton Springs, which supplies around 40 per cent of the area’s drinking water.
It would also be near the proposed reservoir at Havant Thicket.
He said: ‘If the development, or operational use, of this site does result in pollution of the springs the implications could be devastating, depending on the nature and scale of the problem.
‘The travel time for pollution reaching the springs is very quick, approximately 53 hours, giving little time for the pollution to be noticed at source and action taken to stop it reaching the ground.’
He said a pollution incident could put the spring out of action for long periods.
He added: ‘While the company can deal with a short term loss of this source for a few days... the loss of this supply for any longer period is not sustainable.
‘It’s likely that demand restrictions would have to be imposed on the population supplied.
‘It is essential that the scale, nature and layout of the development on this site is specifically adapted to take account of the risks and to minimise the risk to the springs as much as possible.’
A report says drilling close to junction 2 of the A3(M) caused cloudy water in the springs in the past.
The firm’s comments will be taken into account as the plans come before East Hampshire’s planning committee at a later date. Many residents believe the site is the best place to meet the council’s 700-home target for Horndean.